This past weekend, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center came alive once again with the unique sights and sounds of the 2015 ESSENCE Empowerment Experience. This one of a kind, star-studded companion to the now 21 year old music festival, is one part convention and showroom, two parts community building platform, and all business as hundreds of minority represented firms and entities meet for networking and seminars.
Major panel discussions and events took place in the Great Hall as well as supplementary lessons and semiars upstairs at the Empower U; providing non stop activity and information as businesses gathered in the convention space to parlay to festival goers with all-star celebrity appearances, performances, and of course, free stuff.
Highlights included Dona Brazile's discussion on the decade since Katrina, a panel on Race and Reconciliation led by Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, and moderated by Ed Gordon, tips of how to find your soulmate led by Sarah Jakes and Toure' Roberts and even how Tips for Building as Side Hustle with help from Kandi Burruss. And this was just Friday!
Saturday, the Day of Peace, included song writing tips from India.Arie, real talk about love and relationships in a discussion led by Keke Palmer with noted input from vixen Karrine Steffans, a panel on Black Liveswith Dr. Steve Perry, LA Senator Karen Carter Peterson and more, as well as marriage help and support for living past fibriods in the upstairs Empower U.
Day three, although marked with a major storm and showers, proved to be a power packed day of prayer with appearances from Bishop Lester Love, Marvin Sapp, Yolanda Adams, and Smokie Norful. Uncle Charlie Wilson also stopped by while upstairs, lessons for young women prevailed with College Secrets and make-up tips.
Held every year and totally free to enter and enjoy, the Empowerment Experience proves to be the festival headquarters as well as a place for everyone to experience a bit of that decades old festival magic.